It's the only ATP Masters tournament not located in Europe or North America. (AP)

As the Shanghai ATP Masters 1000 rolls on, fans from around the world can tune into one of the most unique venues in all of tennis. It’s the eighth of nine ATP Masters tournaments on the tour and the only one not located in Europe or North America. Shanghai, with the world's highest population of about 25 million, is certainly proud to present a feature tennis attraction.

The sport is a rising phenomenon in China, especially since Shanghai was upgraded to an ATP Masters 1000 level in 2009. The venue boasts a grandiose stadium with an unusual retractable roof that is shaped like the tournament’s magnolia symbol.

The purple-blue courts surrounded by pale green gives the venue its own colorful flair, and it fits the late year brand of fast surfaces meant for quick-strike tennis. Players voted it the best ATP Masters 1000 tournament of 2013, not an easy accolade to win with Indian Wells often cited as the favorite.

Shanghai has also been extremely hospitable and eager to host Roger Federer for promotional events like his hilarious dance routine with Mickey Mouse ahead of the tournament's start. 

Federer was also in a video in July to drum up ticket sales (he even speaks Chinese).

The Swiss is the only player in the draw who has won this title before (2014), with three-time winners Novak Djokovic and Andy Murray sidelined.

The only other Shanghai champion is Nikolay Davydenko in 2009 (for the inaugural ATP Masters-level event). World No. 1 Rafael Nadal made the final that year. If he were to win this tournament for the first time, it would all but clinch his year-end ranking of No. 1.

Most important, young Chinese fans are no doubt inspired by the superstars that have swarmed their vibrant city. 

 

Young Fans enjoying the game. #shrolexmasters #shanghairolexmasters

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